Fence Repair vs Replacement
The first thing you want to do is decide if this is a project you can take on yourself. Ok, now that you have decided you want to fix this fence on your own let’s get to work. The first thing you want to do is assess the damage. You can look down the line of each section of fence to see if it’s leaning one way or the other. You want to check the posts in those areas for being loose or broken. While you’re walking down the line of each section you can grab every post and assess the condition and whether or not it needs to be replaced. So write down how many posts need to be replaced and where they are. If more than 25% of your posts need to be replaced you might want to ask yourself again if this is something you want to take on.
Next you want to check the runners or the horizontal boards that the pickets are secured to. Also check the kicker or rot board which is the horizontal board (usually a 2x6) along the bottom of a fence and any top cap and trim work. Are any of these boards broken, warped, or something that you might want to replace at this point? If so, write them down by board size, where they are, and how many you need of each. Know that if any of the runners need to be replaced you will need to look at the structure closely to see if you have to dismantle the entire section and every picket to replace that runner. If you can replace only the runner by removing the screws and nails on that board only that would be ideal. Just remember not to re-secure any pickets that you are going to replace. Kicker boards and top trim can be replaced once you get the main structure back in shape. Adding a kicker board and top trim can add to the stability of the fence provided the boards are not so old that you can’t properly secure them. When repairing an old fence you are better off using screws in place of nails you will need the extra grip of a screw.
Gate repair is not so easy. It is just like the rest of the fence in that it’s wood and posts but you do add a little geometry to the construction when it comes to gates. You can try watching some videos on youtube and evaluate if you want to do this part or hire someone. If you’re handy it shouldn’t be a problem. Any of this repair work will take time, the gate is just another piece of the puzzle. You may need to replace the posts if these are loose at all. We generally recommend using steel polls for every fence and especially gates. If you want to build a gate that will operate the way it is intended for a long time to come, you will want to consider installing a steel framed gate as well as steel poles. You can imagine the difference as it can be significant. If you do have to remove any fence posts you need to know that this can be difficult without the proper tools. If you have a stubborn post you will need to use some leverage and again there are videos on youtube.
At this point before you do any fence repair, you want to consider at this point if the fence is worth salvaging! Are you trying to rebuild nearly an entire fence? If you are it’s not worth it. If you need to replace half of it, how long will it be before the other half needs repairs or replacing? If it’s worth salvaging you want to put together your list of materials needed including posts, pickets, runners, kicker boards, trim, post cement, gate hardware, screws, and tools. You can look on the internet for pricing and get a pretty good estimate of what the materials cost will be. If you think the fence is salvageable but you’re having second thoughts about the amount of time and work needed maybe you want to bring in a professional to take a look and get their opinion and an estimate. Now you can see pretty much how much your are going to pay for labor. Many fence companies will have a minimum charge before they will come out. Most companies will have a minimum anywhere between $1500 to $3000. Anything less can probably be handled by a handyman. Handymen are not always the best option when it comes to gate construction. If you have some minor work needing repairs like replacing a few pickets, a handyman will be your best option.
If you need significant work and don’t want to replace an entire fence, let a professional fencing contractor come out and look at it.
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